Former BHS owner Retail Acquisitions is on the brink of liquidation following a high court ruling.

The consortium, which purchased the department store chain from Sir Philip Green for a nominal £1 in March 2015, is being pursued by the Pensions Regulator for as much as £17m.

A parliamentary inquiry into the demise of BHS last year found that that Dominic Chappell-led Retail Acquisitions “systematically plundered” the retailer during the 13 months it owned the business, prior to its administration.

BHS’s collapse led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m black hole in its pension scheme.

High court ruling

The high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions yesterday, with the judge ruling that it should be put into liquidation.

The judgement, which is expected to be formally handed down in the coming days, could potentially help the ongoing investigations into BHS’s demise.

The failure of the department store chain is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service and the Financial Reporting Council, while the Serious Fraud Office could also launch a formal probe.

Retrieving assets

Duff & Phelps, which was initially appointed as administrators and is now acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said it was “satisfied” that Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL) had been placed into liquidation.

It added: “The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.”

Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing yesterday. The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal.

“It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.”